After a drought at the 2010 Olympic Games where the Russian pairs teams did not even medal, the Russians have quickly restored their dominance in pairs skating winning the gold and the silver medal today, February 12, 2014.
As the pairs took to the ice all eyes were on Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Coming in as the favorites with almost a 5 point lead after the short, this team took charge and owned the free skate. Nailing their side by side jumps and huge throw jumps, Volosozhar and Trankov were absolutely outstanding. Looking polished, prepared and unwavering this team has been strong all season and now they have the gold medal to prove it.
The crowd could not have been louder as they jumped to their feet, knowing the significance of what this team had accomplished. A Russian pairs team has not won gold at the Olympics on Russian soil since 1936, history was certainly made today.
The dark horses of the event, Russians, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, skated a strong clean program complete with flare and enthusiasm looking sharper than we have seen them all season. Stolbova and Klimov defeated some of the best teams in the world and snuck into the mix stealing the silver away from the Germans and earning themselves a top spot on the podium.
For Germans, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, it was a major upset as their primary goal was to win gold, but will now will have to settle for the bronze. After working so hard over the past four years all for the purpose of winning gold at the Olympic Games, it was a devastating loss for them and their disappointment was evident to all. Robin fell on the side by side triple salchows and they attempted the throw triple axel, which resulted in another fall from Aliona as she was unable to stick the landing.
It was an electric event for the Russians, but heartbreak for the Germans, Canadians and Chinese pair Qing Pang and Jian Tong.
Americans, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir have a lot to celebrate, as they have had a strong showing at these Olympic Games. They may only be walking away with a bronze from the team event, but it was one of the strongest showings from a U.S. pairs team at the Olympic Games in quite some time. They stayed on their feet, completed their elements with only minor errors and attempted a quadruple throw salchow. It was a huge throw, which Marissa could not contain, putting both feet down on the landing. Marissa and Simon finished in ninth place.
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay also skated two clean programs and should be very proud of what they accomplished at these Olympic Games, finishing in twelfth place.
The men will take to the ice for their short program tomorrow, February 13. Who should you watch? Check out Men's figure skating: Top 8 to watch and be ready as the drama of the Olympic Games continues.
Pairs Free Skate: Final Standings
1. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov RUS - 236.86 GOLD
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov RUS - 218.68 SILVER
3. Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy GER - 215.78 BRONZE
4. Qing Pang/Jian Tong CHN - 209.88
5. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch CAN - 202.10
6. Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov RUS - 199.60
7. Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford CAN - 199.53
8. Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang CHN - 195.72
9. Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir USA - 187.82
10. Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres FRA - 179.43
11. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek ITA - 179.08
12. Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay USA - 167.21
13. Maylin Wende/Daniel Wende GER - 166.25
14. Paige Lawrence/Rudi Swiegers CAN - 161.98
15. Andrea Davidovich/Evgeni Krasnopolski ISR - 147.73
16. Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise ITA - 137.86